Are you serious about addressing diversity and inclusion issues at your company? From my experience as an activist and corporate advocate for human diversity, here are five questions that I believe all workplace leaders should ask.
1. Does your decision-making table have representation from all the demographics that you employ and/or serve?
If there are groups missing from the table, then their concerns aren’t being properly discussed or considered.
2. Are you only collecting demographic information for the categories that you are required to report on?
Consider how it feels to be a member of a demographic that isn’t counted. Not counting someone gives the impression that they aren’t being seen, valued, respected, listened to, and ultimately tells them that they don’t matter. Here are examples where this is often seen:
- Collecting gender information for men and women but having no transgender or non-binary options
- Collecting racial information but making no room for biracial or multiracial identities
- Asking for marital or relationship status but including no applicable options for the LGBTQ+ community
3. Are you cultivating a sense of belonging?
To be a truly inclusive company means your employees feel like they can bring their whole and best selves to work every day. They feel like they not only contribute, but that they are wanted and that they belong.
When someone feels like the organization values their unique perspective and the skills that their life experience has granted them they will be more engaged, creative, and productive.
Remember, without diversity, we operate in a homogenous system and homogeneity is the death of innovation and progress.
4. Have you made diversity and inclusion part of someone’s job description or expected responsibilities?
Try building inclusion change teams or councils, which are comprised of business leaders who recommend, implement, or sponsor programs based on building awareness and spreading knowledge, understanding and removing barriers, innovation and diversity of thought, recruiting and development, and/or behaviors and experiences related to the demographic diversity of your employee base.
5. Are business leaders actively and regularly engaged in the conversations and programs related to diversity and inclusion?
This is a crucial piece of changing internal culture and showing employees that the company cares about their diversity and what they uniquely bring to the table.